Waxman - How, when and why was the Creative Sources label first started?
Ernesto Rodrigues - Creative Sources started in my head in 1999, but in
a concrete way, I mean, public in 2001 (with the first release)...
Waxman - Was it initially designed just to
feature you and other Lisbon-based improvisers, or other players as well?
Ernesto Rodrigues - In the beginning yes, it was meant to release my work,
at the time I had extended collaborations and work with a small core group
of Lisbon Improvisers... namely: Guilherme Rodrigues, José Oliveira,
Marco Franco, António Chaparreiro and Manuel Mota, they appear
in the first releases...
All due to the non-existence of labels interested in release this kind
of music in Portugal...
Waxman - Now that CS has put out 140 releases,
how many CDs have you been involved with as a player?
Ernesto Rodrigues - Over 20...
Waxman - How many CDs does CS release at
a time, and at what intervals?
Ernesto Rodrigues - It depends... Some music is more "urgent"
to put out, it needs that time frame, so it happened to have 2 or 3 CD's
out, or 5 or 6, some times we wait to get a small bunch out. the intervals
can go from 2/3 weeks to a month and half... every work of art from it's
creation is fragile and needs to be carried out into the open, to be nourished,
shown to others, or time will erase it and it will be lost, in all this
amount of information going on everywhere, and above all, because the
main labels are all thinking about profits and not music and the musicians,
or they are thinking about "crystallized" forms of music that
do not challenge the listener in new ways, or just "entertainment"...
not paying enough attention...
It fells to me like a mission :-)
Waxman - How many copies do each sell, and
do they have to sell a minimum number of copies?
Ernesto Rodrigues - the release is always limited to 500 copies, my agreement
with the musicians is to cut production expenses in half, in that way
they get 200 to 300 CD's (depends also on the group releasing, if they
are 2/3 or 4) that they can sell by themselves, we take care of the rest
of the production, selling, promoting, sending stuff to reviews...
It sells really very little... I can guess somewhere between 20 to 40
across time... our problem is the distributors, we have a few, that would
change if we get more, really became planetary (joking), almost like our
Don’t forget, is musician run for musicians... very little money
involved, we are not here for the money, but for the art...
Waxman - Are all the CDS recorded by CS still
in the catalogue and available?
Ernesto Rodrigues - Still, the ancient ones are getting fewer copies...
but still there...
Waxman - When did CS first start to release
music by musicians from other countries?
Ernesto Rodrigues - In the production CS 009 “No Furniture”,
with Kai Fagaschinski, Boris Baltschun and Axel Dörner.
Waxman - How did the German musicians on
CS 009 know to get in touch with you and that you would release their
CDs? And how did that concept of releasing CDs by non-Lisbon-based musicians
Ernesto Rodrigues - We had the site already online, and the first CS CD's
were already floating around, with very good reviews, so one thing led
to another and they heard and enjoyed so approach us about the release,
we liked the music, in the same range as ours, and we had the chance to
augment the catalogue, from that moment on.... we started to receive lots
of demos and work to be released from around the world... and also refused
a lot of them...
Waxman - Did this change the label’s
Ernesto Rodrigues - No, it gave the label more latitude in terms of creative
music on the market, I release music that needs a urgent public exposure,
due to its nature, many musicians that release in CS are in same conditions
I am here...
Waxman - The focus now seems to be on minimalist,
microtonal, electronics and lower-case improv, with most sessions related
to New music. Was this deliberate turn towards those sounds and away from
jazz-oriented improvised music?
Ernesto Rodrigues - We've broaden our "palette", and there are
much more labels out there related to mainstream jazz, and also is taste,
that somehow got more specific, but that was always the intent of CS,
at least in my mind, now we're getting there...
We still do jazz improvised music, but a more specific one, related with
Waxman - It also seems that most of the sessions
are now recorded by German, French, Italian musicians in their own countries
and put out by CS. How do these connections develop?
Ernesto Rodrigues - People started to know our catalog, and after a few
years we established ourselves as a label that cares about these kinds
of music, that promotes it, so the connections started to flow naturally,
because we care about the music...
Waxman - A percentage of these players have
recorded on – or continue to record for – other labels. Do
musicians seek out CS to release their CDs because of its policies or
do they give the label music they feel can’t be released elsewhere
or any other way?
Ernesto Rodrigues - I think it's the second answer, we've come to be known
as a label that does a specific kind of music... What I mean is, we deal
with certain kinds of music, like "near silence", lowercase,
electroacoustic, new improv, and some post-free-jazz.
Somehow I guess you can judge a CS CD by its cover, the musicians involved
in each release, most of them young, with new approaches to music improv
and composition, silent stuff and texturized sound, usually from the manipulation
of the instrument, few notes, extended techniques...
But also older musicians with known credits that have some works in this
kind structure, approach the CS catalogue for releasing, in spite of having
very different work on other labels...
Waxman - What criteria are used to decide
whether to release or not a session on Creative Sources?
Ernesto Rodrigues - First if we like the work, it's a matter of taste,
then if it is strong stuff, clear and focused, related to rest of the
catalogue, or even if the process is interesting musically and worth showing,
that’s what I meant with urgency of releasing some of the music...
Ken Waxman -
What sort of financial arrangement does CS have with the musicians, for
instance do they pay for part of the session’s cost? Please elucidate.
Ernesto Rodrigues - As mentioned before, we cut in half the production
of the CD, but that leaves us with the rest involved, promoting, selling.
Usually we get audio masters ready for release, but sometimes we have
to do a little bit of fine adjustments to make, sound wise, my own releases
in CS are prep by us in terms of recording sessions, mixing and mastering...
Ken Waxman -
Does CS, through Trem Azul and others out-of-the-country distributors
have better distribution than most small “experimental” music
Ernesto Rodrigues - I guess the same, that's our (and others) main problem,
to have distributors... perhaps we work harder at it... :-)
Ken Waxman -
Do these distribution deals therefore attract musicians?
Ernesto Rodrigues - I really don’t know, but the majority is attracted
by the spirit represent by CS...
Waxman - Is being an improvising violist
and running the label a full-time job for you or do you do other things?
Ernesto Rodrigues - Is a full time job for sure, the day doesn't have
enough time to do all stuff, besides that there's the family and household,
so I keep myself very busy...
Waxman - Is François Carrier the only
Canadian on the label?
Ernesto Rodrigues - Yes, unfortunately. Around 3 years ago I had a proposal
from Éric Normand’s group (Face à la Dérive)…
I hope they’ll be still interested and will contact me again.
Ken Waxman -
Is every country in Europe represented
on the label?
Ernesto Rodrigues - Not all, but that is not our point to be represent
the geography of Europe, or the world, but to show beautiful music, cleaver
processes or focus composition wherever they are.
Ken Waxman -
Are other South American countries represented besides
Argentina and Brazil; other places in Asia or elsewhere besides Japan?
Ernesto Rodrigues - Yes: India (Tisha Mukarji, cs046); Lebanon (Sahrif
Sehnaoui, cs072), (Mazen Kerbaj, cs025), (Raed Yasin, cs120), Australia
(Tony Buck, cs153)…
Ken Waxman -
Is there anything I left out that I should know about the label?
Ernesto Rodrigues - I would like to mention that without Carlos Santos
collaboration and work, many of these things wouldn't happened, like they
do, he's the graphic designer behind most of the covers and promotional
work, also as musician collaborating in releases and taking care of audio
Also to all the people and musicians involved with the label across the
years, it's a collaborative work...
Waxman - Since the article won’t appear
until mid-2009, I’m going to say CS has put out around 160 CDs by
Ernesto Rodrigues - ... or 170 :-)
Waxman, December 2008